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Centre to help establish a grievance portal in 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir

The central government will “assist” the Jammu and Kashmir administration in establishing a grievance portal in each of the 20 districts of the union territory, the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions said in a statement on Sunday. To implement this, the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (ARPG), will help the UT in revamping the ‘Awaaz e-Awam’ portal by mapping it to last-mile grievance officers.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh said that a focused team of officials from the department will be constituted to work with the Jammu & Kashmir Government “in the coming days”. Earlier this month, the Awaaz-e-Awam portal was integrated with the central government’s Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS), news agency PTI had reported.

The Ministry said that Singh and Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir Manoj Sinha held a telephonic discussion about the initiative. Following the conversation, Singh convened a meeting of senior officers dealing with public grievances, including secretary ARPG Kshatrapati Shivaji and additional secretary V Srinivas.

The announcement came as the Jammu and Kashmir government restored 4G internet services in the districts of Ganderbal (Kashmir) and Udhampur (Jammu) on August 16 on a trial basis. Internet services were suspended in the state on the midnight of August 4, 2019, a few hours before Article 370, that granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, was abrogated and two new union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh — were established instead.

Since the abrogation of Article 370, certain services have resumed, but the Jammu and Kashmir government has repeatedly passed orders to extend restrictions on internet speed in the region. While postpaid users in the Ganderbal and Udhampur will be able to use the internet at 4G speeds, in other regions, mobile internet speeds will remain throttled to 2G.

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While the absolute internet shutdown in the UT was lifted in January 2020, as the government whitelisted a couple of hundred websites on 2G speeds, it has issued internet shutdown orders since then on multiple occasions.

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